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Liquor Licensees’ obligations - Crowd Control

Licensees have a responsibility under the Liquor Act 1992 to provide and maintain a safe environment for patrons and staff in and around their premises and its neighbourhood.  

The OLGR website provides information on:

  • crowd controller engagement, employment, conduct standards and incident management, refer to Towards best practice for safety in licensed venues guide
  • I.D scanning in QLD licenced venues:
    • which liquor licence classes are exempt
    • whose ID to scan and when to do it
    • who is allowed to scan ID
    • acceptable forms of ID
    • personal information and privacy obligations
    • how to deal with privacy complaints
    • how to deal with banning orders and positive results
    • what to do if the ID scanning system malfunctions
    • setting up your networked ID scanner with an approved operator

Crowd controllers play a crucial role in assisting to maintain these standards but engaging crowd controllers does not absolve the responsibility of a licensee to meet the necessary requirements as set out in the Liquor Act and relevant security provider legislation.

OLGR has identified a concerning number of violent incidents that have occurred in or around licensed premises where crowd controllers have been the alleged perpetrator.

There are severe consequences for failing to provide a safe environment which includes potential exposure to civil claims and the bad reputation that could result from serious incidents occurring. This is in addition to potential consequences under the Liquor Act.

After an altercation involving a crowd controller resulted in the death of a patron in the northern part of the Gold Coast, the licensee was required to pay a substantial amount to the department and had a number of additional conditions imposed on their licence.

When employing crowd controllers there are some key factors licensees must consider.

Firstly crowd controllers must be aware of the licensee’s established standards, specific values and venue management plans and procedures. It is necessary they complete a venue induction before commencing duty. Specific roles, standards and duties must be defined and frequently communicated to all crowd controllers, particularly if there is a regular turnover of staff in these roles.

Secondly, a licensee must insist on high standards of competence and conduct from crowd controllers, whether they are employed directly or through a security firm. It is also important to monitor the performance closely to ensure a professional and ethical standard is maintained, this includes regular security reviews.

Thirdly, care must also be taken when patrons are removed from licensed premises. For instance a victim and offender should not be removed at the same time, but instead escorted out at separate points. Violent incidents where a person has been injured must be immediately reported to police. If the victim remains at the venue, legislative requirements must be met in relation to the service and consumption of alcohol. It is an offence to supply liquor to, permit liquor to be supplied to, or allow liquor to be consumed by a person who is unduly intoxicated or disorderly.

Additional best practice strategies include ensuring:

  • crowd controllers also maintain a constant presence after trade by assisting with patron exit and disbursement using plans put in place by the licensee
  • a security management plan is in place and all crowd controllers are fully conversant with the plan
  • clear instructions are provided to crowd controllers employed at premises in regards to house policies, procedures and expectations
  • the Risk Assessment Management Plan (RAMP) document is explained in detail to the crowd controller
  • sufficient controls are in place to ensure crowd controller interaction with patrons is closely monitored.